Departmental Bulletin Paper Altars in The Rape of the Lock : Global Commerce and Catholic Implications

大住, めぐみ  ,  Megumi, Ohsumi

106pp.11 - 26 , 2017-09 , 関西外国語大学・関西外国語大学短期大学部
This essay examines the altars in Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock, as well as its accompaniment A Key to the Lock, and sheds light on the salient link between the influx of foreign commodities and Catholic proselytizing movements by the Society of Jesus. The essay argues that the added altar in Belinda’s boudoir in the 1714 version emphasizes Catholic presence, so as to connect the poem to larger Catholic contributions in Europe, of which Protestant England was no exception. Parallel to the nascent consumerist culture, fascination with the Orient was a hallmark feature of eighteenth-century England. Exotic products as well as imitations abound, and the history of trade of oriental items reveals that it was intricately intertwined with Jesuit missionary activities. The mock-epic poem was composed during a period in which Pope aspired toward constructing a public image as a member of the upper echelons of English society. The essay suggests that, in depicting Belinda’s soirée at Hampton Court, Pope projects his own anxieties about entering mainstream Protestant society while keeping intact an overt Catholic identity.

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